The recent controversy over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for a ‘Nationwide Cleanliness Drive’ on a Sunday (1st October) is the latest instance in a series of the BJP’s subtle moves to advance its Hindu-Hindi nationalist expansionism.
The deliberate attempt to downplay the significance of sacred days of Christians is in complete disregard for people’s sentiments in Nagaland and only creates suspicion and distrust of the Modi government.
Under the direction of the Government of India (GoI), it has become routine to hold official events on Sundays. Only recently, the Government of Nagaland hosted a Union Minister to launch the “PM Viswakarma Yojana” in an event held in Kohima on a Sunday.
One cannot and should not be blind to the multipronged strategy of the Hindutva forces within the BJP who aretrying to establish a Hindu cultural hegemony.At one level, the BJP government has been pushing for laws and policies that support its cultural expansionist agenda.
Since Modi-BJP came to power in 2014, official documents, naming of laws and government policies and programmes are invariably in Hindi. In August this year, the BJP-led government introduced three bills in the parliament to overhaul the criminal justice system in the country.
All the bills were given Hindi names–––the Indian Penal Code, 1860 was replaced by the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Bill, 2023, the Criminal Procedure Code, 1898 was replaced by the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita Bill, 2023 and the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 was replaced by the BharatiyaSakshya Bill, 2023.
Similarly, the names of all the Prime Minister schemes are in Hindi including Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY), Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY), Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), PM Yasasvi Yojano, PM SVANidhi Yojano.
One even wonders how many people in Nagaland, including the cabinet ministers, know the meaning of the word Viswakarma in the PM Viswakarma Yojana that was recently launched in Nagaland.
By raising this issue, it is not to say that we are anti-Hindi as a language. However, learning Hindi language should be a matter of choice, not an imposition. Giving Hindi names for government laws and schemes is a form of Hindi imposition on those who do not know the language.
The Nagaland government must object to moves of the BJP-led government that disrespect our faithand way of life. Official documents should be in languages that we can read and understand. TheNeiphiü Rio-led government should insist that all laws, policies, central schemes or programmes mustbe provided with alternate English names.
Our silence would be read as our acceptance to legitimize the Hindutva forces. It is high time to voice out against all suchattempts to establish a Hindu cultural hegemonyin the guise of politics and development.
Issued in public interest by The Naga Rising